Today during a labor meeting at Lane Tech High School, delegates of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) gave its president the go-ahead to issue a 10-day strike notice at her discretion. Contract negotiations have been slow-moving and major proposals have yet to be resolved. CTU has been in contract negotiations since November 2011.
However, CTU President Karen Lewis cautioned that no one should infer when or if a 10-day notice will be issued by the Union or that an official work stoppage has been called. “Although we have inched one step closer to fulfilling the legal requirements before we can strike, we have made no decision to do so at this time,” she said. “Union leaders will go back to their schools to share the Board’s contract proposals with members and to discuss next steps. But we want our members prepared.”
Lewis said that, in the meantime, teachers and other education personnel will continue informational picketing at 240 schools this week. She said the action is needed to inform parents and the public about what’s really at stake and why a fair and equitable contract will help ensure students get the education they deserve and educators’ rights are not trampled upon.
Teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians are insulted by CPS’ contract proposals, which they believe are bad for students. “You cannot have a first-class school system by putting students and educators last,” Lewis said. “CPS has done a yeoman’s job of taking the joy out of teaching and learning—26,000 of us are fighting to restore it.”
State law requires the Union to present a 10-day notice before a strike can occur.